Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Curtains for the Observer Roles on the Facebook Board?

[UPDATE]

According to several sources, Facebook has discussed eliminating the observer status slots from its board.

Those positions are currently held by Greylock Partners David Sze (pictured here) and also Paul Madera of Meritech Capital Partners, both of whom are early Facebook investors, and they currently remain on the board as they always have been.

In any case, it’s not clear if Facebook can remove that status from preferred investors.

But the company might be discussing it because–as Facebook grows–it needs a more formal board process, especially as it prepares for a public offering sometime in the future.

In that case, the observer slot might be eliminated as the company moves to add more full-time members to the board. Observers do not attend all parts of the board meetings.

While Madera (pictured here) and Sze, well-regarded and well-liked Silicon Valley investors, could be in line for those slots, Facebook is unlikely to want too many venture capitalists on the board permanently.

The board already includes Accel Partners’ Jim Breyer, whose firm has a large investment in the company; Founders Fund’s Peter Thiel, the original investor in the privately held social-networking site; and, more recently, longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur Marc Andreessen.

Greylock and Meritech were one of the earlier investors in Facebook, although its stake is smaller than that of Accel and Founders Fund.

A Facebook spokesperson had no information about such a development; I have a call and an email into Sze for comment, which he has not yet returned.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik